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Courtney On OSHA Initiating Rulemaking Process To Protect Health Care And Social Service Workers

January 10, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) issued the statement below after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced it commence the rulemaking process on a comprehensive workplace violence prevention standard to protect workers in health care and social service settings. Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA, David Michaels, made the announcement at a stakeholder meeting at the Department of Labor.

Courtney first requested the Government Accountability Office (GAO) conduct a study on violence in the health care setting in December 2013 with Rep. George Miller (D-CA), then-ranking member of the Education & Workforce Committee. In July 2016, Courtney joined a bicameral group of lawmakers supporting a petition for rulemaking that was submitted by several labor unions representing workers in health care.

“Today’s action by OSHA sends a clear signal to the 15 million people working in the health care sector that the federal government is focused on providing a safe and secure workplace for them,” said Courtney. “We have known for some time that our health care workers face unique challenges and risks to their personal safety, and I urge the incoming administration to continue to press for stronger protections and safety standards for this sector.”

In 2013, over 150,000 health care workers reported at least one non-fatal, violence-related assault in the workplace, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Also in 2013, there were 24,800 cases of violence against health care workers that were severe enough to cause the employee to have a reportable days-away-from-work injury, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—a 12 percent increase from 2011.  

A copy of the 2013 letter requesting a GAO study can be found here

A copy of the 2016 letter supporting the petition for rulemaking can be found here